[ kuhn-tam-uh-ney-shuhn ]
See synonyms for contamination on
  1. the act of contaminating, or of making something impure or unsuitable by contact with something unclean, bad, etc.

  2. the act of contaminating, or of rendering something harmful or unusable by the addition of radioactive material: the contamination of food following a nuclear attack.

  1. the state of being contaminated: The manufacturer recalled the product because of possible salmonella contamination.

  2. Rare. something that contaminates a place or substance, as by making it impure, unsuitable, harmful, or unusable; a contaminant.

  3. Linguistics.

    • an alternation in a linguistic form due to the influence of a related form, as the replacement in English of earlier femelle with female through the influence of male.

    • the process of forming blends.: Compare blend (def. 9).

Origin of contamination

1375–1425; late Middle English contaminacioun<Late Latin contāminātiōn- (stem of contāminātiō), equivalent to contāmināt(us) (see contaminate) + -iōn--ion

Other words from contamination

  • non·con·tam·i·na·tion, noun
  • re·con·tam·i·na·tion, noun
  • self-con·tam·i·na·tion, noun

Words Nearby contamination Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use contamination in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for contamination


/ (kənˌtæmɪˈneɪʃən) /

  1. the act or process of contaminating or the state of being contaminated

  2. something that contaminates

  1. linguistics the process by which one word or phrase is altered because of mistaken associations with another word or phrase; for example, the substitution of irregardless for regardless by association with such words as irrespective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012